Web Forms for Marketers has been the staple forms application since Sitecore 6. However from version 9.1 of the Sitecore Experience Platform, WFFM is no longer an option for designing forms. Instead, the new integrated Forms application is where forms are designed, managed and monitored.

If you have a Sitecore website that falls between versions 8 and 9.0 (initial release) and you have WFFM installed, then you’ll have access to both WFFM and Sitecore Forms.

This article compares WFFM and Sitecore Forms. It focusses on 4 key aspects:

  1. Design
  2. Form management
  3. Reporting
  4. Integration
Sitecore 9.1 doesn’t support WFFM. Instead, it offers an integrated forms application called Sitecore Forms

1. Design

One of the marked differences between WFFM and Sitecore Forms is their design. Web Forms for Marketer’s dated and cumbersome appearance has been updated to reflect Sitecore’s design from version 8.

User interface (UI)

Sitecore Forms is accessible from the Launchpad. It offers a modern, updated UI that’s pleasing to the eye, easy to navigate and much easier to create custom forms within.

User interface

The Forms UI includes:

  • A canvas area where users can build forms (drag and drop)
  • A right rail Tools Panel containing Form Elements, Settings and Performance
  • Additional action buttons
Form elements

Unlike WFFM where users access the form itself in the Content Editor to publish it, in Sitecore 9.3 users can publish forms directly in the Forms application.

2. Form management

This section covers the differences of form management capabilities:

  • Save actions
  • Captcha & File upload
  • Rule editor
  • Auto-populate
  • Multi-step forms
  • Multi-site capabilities
  • Robot detection
  • Email confirmation field
  • Deleting form data

Save actions

Both applications offer many form management tools like Save Actions. A Save Action is what Sitecore is ‘instructed to do’ when a website visitor submits a form. They both have default save actions.

Forms 9.0.1 has six Save Actions. In Sitecore 9.3 however, there are seven. Although there aren’t as many at present as Web Forms for Marketers, the likelihood is that more will be added in subsequent updates, but custom save actions can be added to suit business requirements.

Sitecore 9.3 Forms Save actions

  • Trigger goal
  • Redirect to Url
  • Trigger campaign activity
  • Trigger outcome
  • Send email campaign message
  • Redirect to page
  • Save data

Sitecore 9.0 WFFM Save actions

  • Add the contact to a contact list
  • Change Password
  • Create Item
  • Enroll in Engagement Plan
  • Register a Campaign
  • Register a Conversion
  • Send Email Campaign Message
  • Send Email Message
  • Send MMS
  • Send SMS
  • Tell a Friend
  • Update Contact Details
  • Logout
  • Create User (Security action)
  • Edit Role Membership (Security action)
  • User Login (Security action)
  • User Login with Password (Security action)

Note: Web Forms for Marketers saves data to the Forms (SQL) database by default. Whereas in Forms the ‘Save Data’ Save Action needs to be manually assigned so that form data is saved to the Forms (SQL) database and then available for CSV download.

Captcha & File upload

Regarding field types, the only difference is that Web Forms for Marketers has Captcha and File upload fields as out-of-the-box features, whereas Sitecore Forms doesn’t. The reason why Forms doesn't have Captcha is that it has a new out-of-the-box Robot Detection feature, which is available in Sitecore 9.3. If however, you would like to include a Captcha field to forms, third party extensions are available. File upload control can also be added to Forms.

Rules editor

Whereas WFFM has a Rule Set Editor where users can assign conditions to fields, Sitecore Forms uses conditional logic. This is based on ‘IF’, ‘THEN’ and ‘OR’ conditions that are assigned to fields to allow users to build dynamic forms.

Rule editor

Auto-populate

Forms allows marketers to configure auto filled/pre-populated form fields based on logged in user details. This is a useful feature that (logged in) website visitors expect.

Multi-step forms

Creating multi-step forms can be done in both, but it’s easier to implement in Sitecore Forms. This is simply configured by dragging the ‘Page’ element onto the form canvas. This essentially creates a new page (or step) the form fields are added to.

Although it’s not possible in Sitecore Forms to verify a submitted form or set the custom error message on a per-field basis, field validation is the same in both applications.

Multi-site capabilities

Unlike WFFM, Forms accommodates multi-site solutions by allowing users to save forms in subfolders. Security access rights are assigned to relevant users so they can access and manage forms saved in the sub-folders. This means every website has a separate role that enables users to create and edit forms for specific multi-sites.

Robot detection

Another feature unavailable in WFFM is Robot detection. In Forms all forms with the ‘Save Data’ Save Action have (by default) the option ‘Enable robot submission’ not enabled. This is to prevent robot submissions.

Email confirmation field

In Sitecore 9.3, users can add the Email Confirmation field to forms. This new field has default configuration and validation properties, as would be expected for an Email field type.

Deleting form data

Also available in 9.3, users can delete form data from the Forms database by selecting the 'Delete Data' option.

3. Reporting

Both applications have robust out-of-the-box reporting tools that allow users to analyse and export form data. However, Forms offers improved reporting by analysing 3 key metrics of forms and their fields.

  • Abandonment rate
  • Error rate
  • Average time
Form reporting

4. Integration

Sitecore is a flexible platform that allows for custom functionality. In terms of integration, Web Forms for Marketers has the slight edge regarding off-the-shelf integration modules. This is because it has been around longer and as such there are more modules that integrate with, for instance, Salesforce and Eloqua. For example:

  • WFFM To Salesforce
  • Salesforce Connect Module
  • WFFM Connector for Eloqua
  • Sitecore Salesforce Connector
  • S4S Web Forms for Marketers

Forms can be modified to accommodate integrations with Salesforce, Eloqua, Marketo, HubSpot etc, and due to the advancements in Sitecore XP, developing and implementing custom integrations for Sitecore Forms is easier.

Web Forms for Marketers or Sitecore Forms?

At Codehouse we’ve worked on many projects involving Web Forms for Marketers and Sitecore Forms. We’ve also integrated with Marketing Automation tools such as Eloqua, Marketo and Pardot (SalesForce).

Although both forms applications deliver rich functionality, Forms is the better proposition. The reason is that it’s future proof, and within the next few years it will be the only out-of-the-box forms application for Sitecore XP.

We’ve helped many customers spanning a variety of industries get the very best from Sitecore. If you want to know more about how these powerful form applications can help your business, then get in touch.